The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) last Friday held a business forum to engage and thank its clients and business partners for their support over the years.
The event was held at Kigali Serena Hotel, where customers were treated to exhilarating performances from Mashirika, a renowned local traditional dance and drama group, and sumptuous meals and a cocktail of drinks.
The Mashirika troupe performances kept the audience on their toes as they dined.
In-between the performances, the audience were treated to speeches from various bank officials.
“We found it necessary to organise this get-together to be able interact with you as our customers and business partners,” Benjamin Manzi, the director of investments at the bank, said while giving a vote of thanks.
Jack Kayonga, the Development Bank of Rwanda chief executive officer, noted that after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the bank inherited non- performing loans rate estimated to 50 per cent.
“However, the bank endeavoured to continue its financing activities, with loans totaling Rwf6.8b for 115 projects and Rwf156.4m in equity shares in three productive ventures.
“The loans were mainly invested in modernisation and rehabilitation of ventures to the tune of Rwf13.4b, creating 8,923 jobs and adding value to the economy to the tune of around Rwf8b,” he explained.
He added that this phase was related to the recapitalisation and monetisation of the rural area. There was a need of fast and lasting growth to fight poverty as over 90 per cent of the population lives in the rural area relies on agriculture.
Kayonga said in 2005, the government mandated BRD as financier of Rwanda’s development. Between 2005 and 2010, the bank planned to inject Rwf60b into the economy.
“BRD is still the main financier of medium-and long-term investments, with a market share of 45 per cent in financing high risk sectors. The bank plans to grow its portfolio to over Rwf165b by 2015. The bulk of the funds will focus on stimulating economic growth, accelerating Rwanda’s development agenda, reducing poverty and creating around 150,000 jobs that will impact the livelihoods of over 1,000,000 people,” he said.
He pointed out that the bank was also diversifying its portfolio by financing mortgage and real estate. It now has deposit accounts for clients and developed trade finance facilities.
The bank plans to set up branches in all provinces of Rwanda to take services closer to the people and developing e-banking system for online and mobile banking, he added.
He explained that over the past years, BRD has been striving to invest in companies that reflect the potential to contribute efficiently and sustainably to the socio-economic development of Rwanda as one of the ways to eradicate poverty.
The bank also emphasises manufacturing sector to encourage home-processed products. The sector is targeted because it is a foreign exchange earner and is vital as it eradicates poverty through creating job opportunities for Rwandans, Kayonga said.
“The bank is supporting the exports through tea and coffee sectors. The export sector is important to the economy since it is agriculture related and has a strong impact on the lives of many. It also helps bringing in large volumes of foreign currencies,” he noted.
The bank supports education as one of the key elements to ensure a brighter future for the nation. The bank has supported various institutions in this sector, including La Colombiere, Green Hills Academy, ULK, Archdiocese de Kigali, I.N.E.S – Ruhengeri, INILAK and many others.
During th event, testimonies from customers were also part of the ‘menu’.
“The loan I got from BRD last year helped me put up a world class hotel. BRD helped me turn my dream into reality...so I didn’t think twice when they invited me for this dinner. I am really a proud beneficiary,” remarked Toni Rutonesha Kwitunga from Rubavu District.
The Development Bank of Rwanda is the government’s investment arm and the leader of productive investment. The bank specialises in small-and-medium enterprises (SME) sector. Its key growth areas include agri-business, manufacturing, micro-finance, information and communication technology, hospitality, education, healthcare, energy and water.
The event was also aimed bringing the bank’s clients together to network and foster business and personal interactions.